Everything you need to know about Africa's elections in 2014 and 2015
It is agreed that when Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress (ANC) party swept to power in 1991 Africa was at a turning point, and that a democratic future awaited the whole continent. The ANC has remained in power ever since despite numerous corruption allegations and various protests that have frequently contested the legitimacy of the government. These protracted stays in power are becoming symptomatic, with regimes ripping up laws that prevented unlimited terms in office. In 2012, the Economist Intelligence Unit EIU stated that, other than the tiny Island nation of Mauritius, Africa could not claim to contain a single full democracy. Taking these factors into account makes this years’ election announcements particularly interesting.
When the president of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaore tried, like so many other leaders, to remove the limits to the number of terms in office he could serve, the people of Burkina demonstrated en masse, forcing him to flee the country and resign.
Out of twelve African countries that held elections during that year, five resulted in an opposition party taking power, which could be a sign of change to come.
No clear winner:
The Malawi elections saw The People’s Party firmly ejected from their seat of power; the party took a dismal 20 per-cent of the vote that saw the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) take power with 36.4 per-cent. It is interesting to note that the new Malawian president Peter Mutharika is the brother of the former, now deceased, DPP president Bingu Wa Mutharika.
At first, it seemed businessman Ahmed Omar Maiteeq had won enough votes in the Libyan elections to form a government but when the first and second deputy speakers argued live on air about if the candidate had met the minimum number of votes to form a government. After several hours’ argument it was agreed that previous president Abdullah al-Thani should resume control.
Postponed to fight terrorism:
The Nigerian election, which were postponed from February to March, is tipped to be a hotly contested battle between incumbent president Goodluck Johnathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC.) The six week delay in the elections has been due to a chronic lack of security support for polling stations, as the Nigerian military is undertaking a large offensive against Islamist terror group Boko Haram.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”